New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Hijacking Exercises, Air Force One's Movements, Laura Bush on Sept. 11, and More
From the History Commons Groups blog:
A large number of entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, most off which provide new details about the events of the day of September 11, 2001.
One new timeline entry describes a training exercise based on the scenario of a possible terrorist attack that was run on the morning of September 11 by the US Coast Guard in Tampa Bay, Florida, quite close to Sarasota, where the president was at the time. Another entry deals with a meeting scheduled to take place at the Pentagon that morning, regarding a planned "disaster exercise" at the nearby Navy Annex building.
An entry reveals that a number of FBI agents had, for reasons that are unknown, already arrived at the Navy Annex when the Pentagon was hit. Later on, the Navy set up a new command center at the Navy Annex, after its original command center was destroyed in the Pentagon attack.
Several entries describe the futile attempts of intelligence officers at NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) to obtain information about the first hijacking. After learning of the hijacking, a NEADS intelligence officer called the FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center and the National Military Joint Intelligence Center at the Pentagon, but neither of them could provide any information. Searches on the SIPRNET--the US military Internet system--also revealed nothing. Furthermore, the threat briefing at NEADS that morning had included no indication of an increase in the terrorist threat level.
Some NEADS personnel have said they were monitoring Flight 93 long before the time at which the 9/11 Commission concluded the military was first alerted to this hijacked aircraft. Also, a commander at NEADS complained that an officer from the NEADS battle cab had come down to the operations floor, where he had been "circumventing my system." What is more, NEADS personnel only learned that the president's plane, Air Force One, was airborne about half an hour after it took off from Sarasota.
The wife of the U.S. president is considered one of the nation's "most visible targets," and is therefore provided with a detail of Secret Service agents whose job is to protect her and keep her out of harm's way. And yet on September 11, 2001, Laura Bush, the wife of then-President George W. Bush, was left vulnerable all through the terrorist attacks.
She was allowed to head to her scheduled destination¸ the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, even after a second plane hit the World Trade Center and it was obvious the U.S. was under attack. She was allowed to spend time there, even though her Secret Service agents should have taken her away to a "secure site." She even appeared live on CNN, thereby revealing her location to any terrorist who might be watching television. And when people were ordered to evacuate, due to reports that a suspicious plane was heading toward Capitol Hill, Bush remained in the Russell Office Building, even though this could have proved fatal had a plane crashed into it. She was only driven away to a "secure location" at 10:10 a.m., after the attacks had ended. And all this time, she was accompanied by her Secret Service detail.
The failure of those agents to properly protect Bush was extraordinary. Examination of their actions raises serious questions. We need to discover what caused these skilled professionals to repeatedly leave the first lady in serious danger.
By Jordy Yager - 09/25/10 12:46 PM ET
Former First Lady Laura Bush launched the 10th annual National Book Festival on the National Mall on Saturday by reading a passage about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks from her new book.
Bush, a former librarian, pioneered the first National Book Festival with the Library of Congress in 2001 just three days before the attacks. And Librarian of Congress James Billington introduced Bush on Saturday as the “reader in chief of the United States of America.”
With Secret Service agents lining the perimeter and the aisles of the large open-flapped tent, Bush received standing ovations from a crowd of more than 500 people as she entered and exited to read from her book “Spoken From the Heart,” released in May.
In the months before President George W. Bush’s administration came to a close, his wife said she began to get calls from publishers asking when she was going to write her memoirs.
“I realized there was in fact a lot I wanted to say,” she said. “Our years in Washington, the first decade of the new century were as consequential as almost any other time in our history. We lived through the most vicious attack on our homeland in the history of our nation.”
Laura Bush recalls 9/11 panic at White House
Former first lady details problems with communication system
updated 9:15 a.m. ET, Wed., May 5, 2010
In her memoir, "Spoken from the Heart," former first lady Laura Bush shares a detailed account of being in the White House during the terrorist attacks. An excerpt.
Goodness in the land of the living
Tuesday morning, September 11, was sunny and warm, the sky a brilliant cerulean blue. The day before, I had hosted a lunch for Janette Howard, wife of the Australian prime minister, while George met with her husband, John. My friends who had come for the National Book Festival had all flown home, and even George was gone, in Florida for a school visit. George H. W. Bush and Bar had spent the night, but they had already left at 7:00 a.m. to catch an early flight. And I had what I considered a big day planned. I was set to arrive at the Capitol at 9:15 to brief the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Edward M. Kennedy, on the findings of the early childhood development conference that I’d held in July. In the afternoon, we were hosting the entire Congress and their families for the annual Congressional Picnic. The South Lawn of the White House was already covered with picnic tables awaiting their fluttering cloths, and Tom Perini from Buffalo Gap, Texas, was setting up his chuckwagons. Our entertainment would be old-fashioned square dancing and Texas swing music by Ray Benson and his classic band, Asleep at the Wheel.